Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas in Harmony, by Philip Gulley

Take a couple parts “A Christmas Story”, mix it with a couple parts “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”,  add a dash of Garrison Keillor and you’ll come close to “Christmas in Harmony” by Philip Gulley.

The minister at the Society of Friends church in Harmony doesn’t quite know what he’s gotten into when he agrees to church elder Dale Hinshaw’s scheme for progressive Nativity scene instead of the traditional scene in the churchyard.  Minister Gardner’s house is to have some of the livestock, which is delivered three days early because that’s the only day Dale could get the truck—oh, and they should save the manure to be used in someone’s garden.   (His wife packs up the pig and takes it back the next day—Jews wouldn’t have had pigs, anyway, she says.)  

 He looks up into a tree to find Dale stringing up a mannequin from the department store for the heraldic angel—but the manager won’t let him change the mannequin’s clothes so the angel is harking wearing jeans and a plaid flannel shirt.  But it all seems quite in keeping with the whole scene.

Maybe I just needed a good laugh when I read this, but I laughed until I cried.  It’s one of those books that your family hates for you to read because you want to keep reading the funny parts to them but you’re laughing so hard they can’t understand a word you’re saying. 

The characters are quirky and the situation hilarious, but the heartwarming message will bring a smile to your face, and to your heart.   I may make reading this a Christmas tradition in my house.  Welcome Christmas to your heart with Philip Gulley’s “Christmas in Harmony.”

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